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Will the general election bring real change to the housing crisis?

The housing crisis is a pressing issue that has plagued the UK for far too long. With a new Government potentially taking office on 4 July, there is hope that real change can finally be brought about to tackle this crisis head-on. However, with only 100 days to make a significant impact before the end of October, it is essential that the new Government focuses on key priorities that will have a lasting and effective impact on addressing the housing crisis. Here, we outline the top ten points that we believe a new Government should urgently address to bring about positive change in the housing sector.

 1. First and foremost, re-introducing mandatory housing targets for local authorities is crucial. Local councillors should not bear the burden of determining housing need in their communities, especially when faced with opposition from a vocal minority opposed to housing. By setting clear and objective housing targets at the national level, local authorities can focus on delivering the necessary housing in their district, without being swayed by local political pressures.

 2. In conjunction with mandatory housing targets, the reintroduction of regional planning is essential. Co-ordinating housing and infrastructure needs at the regional level will ensure a more sustainable and co-ordinated approach to development, leading to better outcomes for both residents and the environment.

 3. A National Green Belt Review is also imperative in ensuring that the most sustainable patterns of development are reflected in Local Plans. By prioritising sustainability and assessing the most appropriate locations for residential development closer to jobs and transport hubs, we can help reduce the need to travel and meet local authorities' net zero carbon targets.

 4. The creation of New Towns is another key point that must not be overlooked. By reintroducing the concept of New Towns, we can effectively address the growing housing need while maintaining the integrity of Green Belts and preventing urban sprawl.

 5. Reversing recent policy changes in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is crucial to increasing housing delivery in the short term. The current relaxation of housing land supply requirements is only exacerbating the housing crisis. It is essential to revert to the previous standards to ensure that enough homes are being built to meet local needs.

 6. Increasing resourcing for Local Planning Authorities is also a priority. With understaffed and underfunded authorities, continued delays in planning applications and local plan preparation are inevitable. By providing financial support and investing in the necessary skills and expertise within local authorities, we can ensure that the planning system functions effectively.

 7. Creating a new Governmental department focused on tackling the housing crisis, along with appointing a Minister for the Housing Crisis, will help drive the agenda forward and ensure that the issue remains a top priority. With a dedicated department, plans to build more homes in sustainable locations can be properly implemented.

 8. Introducing mandatory s106 standard template agreements and increasing funding for legal professionals within local authorities will help streamline the planning process and reduce delays in granting permissions for developments. By avoiding reliance on temporary staff and ensuring swift agreement on necessary s106 terms, construction of new homes can begin sooner.

 9. Leveraging AI technology to aid in processing planning applications and engaging with local communities on planning decisions is another innovative approach that can improve the efficiency and transparency of the planning system. By using digital communication channels and social media, local authorities can effectively communicate with residents and involve them in the decision-making and plan-making processes.

 10. Finally, legislating to address the impacts of phosphates on residential developments is essential. By tackling this issue at the source through collaboration with Water Companies, we can remove unnecessary barriers that prevent much-needed housing developments from moving forward.


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